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I shall go into the matter more fully. There is need of your sanctity having ears prepared and minds more ready so as to be able to grasp what we can gather from the series of Scriptures and shall go into, that you may have the grace of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, to which Trinity is the everlasting kingdom from the ages and now and always, and forever and ever. Amen.
5 Since they had just been baptized.
THE SACRAMENTS: II
(1) Yesterday we began to discuss that in the flood, also, a figure of baptism had preceded. What is the flood except where the just is reserved for the seminary of justice, and where sin dies? So the Lord, seeing that the sins of men were flourishing, reserved the just man alone with his progeny, but ordered the water to go out even above the mountains. And thus in that flood all corruption of the flesh perished; only the stock and the kind of the just remained. Is not this a flood, which baptism is, in which all sins are washed away, only the mind and grace of the just are raised up again?
(2) The Apostle? proclaims many kinds of baptism, but one baptism. Why? There are the baptisms of the Gentiles, but they are not baptism. They are baths, but they cannot be baptisms. The flesh is bathed; fault is not washed away; rather, in that bath fault is contracted. There were baptisms among the Jews, some superfluous, others in figure. And the
1 Eph. 4.5.
figure itself was of benefit to us, since it is an indication of the truth.
(3) What was read yesterday? It said: “An angel of the Lord went down at a certain time into the pond, and, as often as the angel went down, the water was moved. And he that went down first into the pond, after the motion of the water, was made whole of whatsoever infirmity he lay under.'! This signifies the figure of our Lord Jesus Christ about to come.
(4) Why “angel'?—for He Himself is the angel of great counsel; ‘at a certain time,' which was saved for the last hour, that at the very setting he might overtake the day and defer the setting. So, ‘as often as the angel went down, the water was moved.' Perchance you say: 'Why now is it not moved?' Give heed why: ‘Signs for the incredulous, faith for those who believe."
(5) 'He that went down first was made whole of every infirmity.' Why is 'first'? In time or in honor? Understand both! If in time, he that went down first' was made whole beforehand, that is, of the people of the Jews rather than of the people of nations. If in honor, 'he that went down first,' that is, who had fear of God, zeal for justice, grace, charity, affection for chastity, he himself rather was made whole. Yet at that time one was saved; at that time, I say, in a figure ‘he that went down first alone was cured. How much greater is the grace of the Church in which all are saved, whoever go down!
2 Cf. Mark 7.4,8; Heb. 6.2; 9.10.
1 Cf. John 5.4.
(6) But see the mystery: Our Lord Jesus Christ comes to the pond. Many sick were lying there. And easily were many sick lying there, where only one was cured. Then He said to the paralytic: ‘Go down.' He said: 'I have no man. Behold where you are baptized, whence the baptism is, if not from the cross of Christ, from the death of Christ. There is all the mystery, because He suffered for you. In Him you are redeemed; in Him you are saved.
(7) He says: 'I have no man.' That is: 'Because by a man came death and by a man the resurrection," he was not able to go down, he was not able to be saved, who did not believe that our Lord Jesus Christ had taken on flesh from a virgin. But this man who was awaiting the mediator of God and men, the man Jesus, expecting Him of whom it was said: 'And the Lord will send a man who will make them whole, 'I have no man,' and so he deserved to come to good health, because he believed in Him coming. Yet he would have been better and more perfect if he had believed that He had already come whom he hoped would come.
(8) Now, behold the incidents one by one. We said that a figure had preceded on the Jordan, when the leprous Naaman was cleansed. That girl of the captives, who is she but one who had the likeness of the Church and represented a figure? For the people of the nations was captive; I do not mean captivity established under some enemy, but I mean
4 Cf. John 5.3,6,7. 5 Cf. 1 Cor. 15.21.